Thursday, March 4, 2010

... in which Dr. Dick stops podcasting long enough to drop by for a chat!

Richard Wagner, Ph.D., ACS, is a tirelessly multitasking clinical sexologist, relationship counselor, video producer, entrepreneur, and charity founder. In the online world of sex advising and podcasting, he’s better known as Dr. Dick [NSFW].

Dr. Dick’s podcasting incarnation recently celebrated its third anniversary. (It is rumored that Dr. D. took his podcast out on the town to celebrate, and that a hotel room was involved.) Those of us in the erotic-literature scene are probably most familiar with Dr. D.’s “The Erotic Mind [NSFW] podcast series in particular, which consists of interviews with erotic authors and artists, and whose roster of guests to date includes such scintillating subjects as Jordan LaRousse & Samantha Sade [NSFW], Kay Jaybee, Donna George Storey, Jolene Hui, James Lear, Emerald, Shanna Germain, Ashley Lister, Craig J. Sorensen, and D. L. King. I can tell you from personal experience, both as an interviewee and a devoted listener, that Dr. D. is a fascinating, charming, insightful, and hilarious host. (Follow the link above to listen for yourselves!)

I recently had a little informal online chat with Dr. D., with the intention of getting his perspective on his podcasting experiences. (The chat, as reproduced here, has been edited in various ways, to bring you a smoother reading experience and spare you our digressions into topics like the weather, Beatles trivia, and whether we think Jordan or Samantha is more ticklish.)

Jeremy: Three years is quite an epoch, in Internet years.

Dr. Dick: that is so true
Dr. Dick: it’s like dog years
Dr. Dick: only not so furry

Jeremy: Speaking of which ... how has the podcast animal evolved for you in that time?

Dr. Dick: i was horribly nervous for about the first 6 months

Jeremy: And then you relaxed? Or did you progress from horribly nervous to *terribly* nervous?

Dr. Dick: i did relax from horribly to terribly then to just really anxious

Dr. Dick: i have to write out all my scripts

Jeremy: It seems to work well! And I know both from listening and from participating that this method leads to a healthy blend of spontaneity and organization.

Dr. Dick: it’s true
Dr. Dick: when i started the interviews the whole process changed

Jeremy: Have your podcasting goals evolved or developed in directions you didn’t anticipate?

Dr. Dick: they’ve evolved from generic interviews to thematic interviews
Dr. Dick: i now have three podcast series going at once—The Erotic Mind, Sex EDGE-U-cation and Sex Wisdom
Dr. Dick: i seem to be branching out in different directions
Dr. Dick: as i encounter interesting people in the field of human sexuality, i ask for an interview

Jeremy: Did the “Erotic Mind” series initially take shape as a major project, or was it a smaller idea that got out of control?

Dr. Dick: it started with an interview i did with Sam and Jordan at oysters and chocolate

Jeremy: Ooh, yeah—I remember that. Those two are enough to get anyone hooked.

Dr. Dick: i had so much fun with them and they were so insightful; i thought to myself, why not chat with other authors and artists
Dr. Dick: see if we can uncover something of the creative process involved in this unique art form
Dr. Dick: once i started the series, it was pretty smooth sailing from there on out

Jeremy: Every artist, and every conversation you have with your guests, is different ... but are there some general trends that have emerged?

Dr. Dick: that is so true, trends have emerged
Dr. Dick: one universal is that the artists and authors were all creative with pictures or words as children
Dr. Dick: they all grew into their talents
Dr. Dick: i don’t think i’ve interviewed anyone that started creating their art as an adult

Jeremy: Interesting! I wonder how true that is in other fields. People our age (ahem) who do computer programming, for example, were most likely *not* messing around with mainframes in their childhood. But maybe they were doing related activities—logic puzzles or something.

Dr. Dick: many of the graphic artists who now work with computer generated images started out with crayons, pencils, pens and paper

Jeremy: I guess they were the kids who were drawing instead of *eating* the crayons.

Jeremy: It’s clear from your intelligent and well-thought-out interviews that your years of experience as a sex therapist inform your understanding of the erotic arts. Going in the other direction now, have your explorations of the “erotic minds” of writers and artists influenced your thinking as a sex adviser?

Dr. Dick: they sure have! i am now more likely then ever to turn clients on to erotica
Dr. Dick: i think there is a significant therapeutic aspect to reading and writing erotica

Jeremy: I’m interested to know how they react to that.

Dr. Dick: some don’t understand my suggestion till i explain it to them
Dr. Dick: some are resistant
Dr. Dick: others think it’s an interesting idea that they would like to look into

Jeremy: Do you see a societal discomfort with sexuality as coloring how some of them respond to the idea of reading “dirty” books?

Dr. Dick: absolutely
Dr. Dick: same goes for images
Dr. Dick: i often have to make it stronger than a suggestion
Dr. Dick: i have to insist on it as part of the therapeutic intervention
Dr. Dick: surprisingly enough lots of clients will not do it till i insist
Dr. Dick: just saying the words out loud that you see on a page is a big thing for some

Jeremy: “Prescribed by Dr. Dick.” I would love to see that plastered on a book I’m in.
Jeremy: Oh, before I forget to do the PSA here ... am I correct in thinking that you’re continually on the lookout for published erotica authors to interview?

Dr. Dick: yes!

Jeremy: You hear that, lurkers?
Jeremy: How can they get in touch with you, DD?

Dr. Dick: dr_dick AT drdicksexadvice DOT com

Jeremy: You must put an incredible amount of work into these enriching and entertaining shows.

Dr. Dick: it’s true
Dr. Dick: finding interesting interviewees is a constant challenge
Dr. Dick: the time and energy i put into the pre-production is enormous
Dr. Dick: then there is the production itself, which is often a crapshoot

Jeremy: Where are my winnings, then?

Dr. Dick: the post-production stuff is also a challenge. finding sponsors, making the presentation lively, making the posting attractive is all very time consuming

Jeremy: What do you envision going forward, for Dr. Dick the podcaster and Dr. Dick the sex therapist (and any other Dr. Dicks you have on hand)?

Dr. Dick: i’m cutting back on my private practice
Dr. Dick: i’ve been doing it for nearly 30 years
Dr. Dick: frankly, it gets a bit repetitive

Jeremy: Almost anything would, right?

Dr. Dick: and nowadays folks are less likely to want to work at solving their problems
Dr. Dick: “can’t you just give me a pill for that?” is what i often hear

Jeremy: Do you hand out placebos?
Jeremy: I bet they get suspicious when the “pill” comes out of a PEZ dispenser.

Dr. Dick: no placebos ;)
Dr. Dick: i pretty much can tell in 10 minutes if the prospective client will want to work out the problem

Jeremy: It’s been wonderful chatting with you, Dr. Dick! (But this bill you’ve just handed me is an outrage, and if I were you I wouldn’t pay it.)
Jeremy: Before we completely wind it up, is there anything in particular you’d like to talk about?

Dr. Dick: not really

Jeremy: You’re so antisocial.

Dr. Dick: i know!!!

Okay, so he doesn't want to talk to me anymore ... but he'll talk to you! So chime in below with your comments, and pick the good doctor's brain.

Jeremy: You *will* take questions from the floor, right?

Dr. Dick: i'll be on the floor? will there be cocktails? sure!


Donna said...

Hey Dr. Dick,

You are the best! I so enjoyed our interview, one of the stand-out best experiences of my book tour. It helped me get a sense of my inspirations and goals as a writer and left me all jazzed up to go out and create more (I probably owe you a check now, don't I?) Like Jeremy, I would love to earn one of those "Prescribed by Dr. Dick" labels. And I was fascinated to hear that you can tell if a client is willing to do deep psychological work in just ten minutes. I could see that would be true. If you are up for chatting more, I'd be curious to hear about some of the specifics of that. Such as, if they say, "this therapy crap is crap" then you know it won't work. Or is it more subtle than that?

Great to see you here, and thanks for a witty and wonderful interview, Jeremy!

Jolene Hui said...

I <3 Dr. Dick!

Shanna Germain said...

Yah! This was fantastic -- such a pleasure to read the interview, especially since I know what both your voices sound like!

What a fantastic idea. Here's to many more years of Dr. Dick prescriptions!

:) s.

Craig Sorensen said...

I think I wrote in my blog announcing my Dr. D interview that if I was to interview someone, it would be him. Guess you beat me too it, Jeremy! Only fitting since you introduced me to him. And of course, you did a great job.

I can relate to being "horribly nervous." I certainly was when I had my interview with the good Doctor. It was my first spoken interview, and I was quite the bundle of nerves. But Dr D put me at ease, and I had a great time.

Thank you both for a great interview!

Emerald said...

Hi Jeremy and Dr. Dick!

Jeremy said,
"'Prescribed by Dr. Dick.' I would love to see that plastered on a book I’m in."

You and me both (well, all three counting Donna)!! :)

Thanks for hosting Dr. Dick here, Jeremy; I so adore you both, and it's such a treat to get to come visit you in one place. ;)

DD, I was interested when you mentioned that the whole interview process changed when you started doing them. (Not that I wasn't interested the whole time, but I was particularly interested there.) Do you mind expounding on how that was? Did you plan for them to be a different format, or not to have a script, or to be done a different way from how you ended up doing them when you started interviewing?

I agree with Jeremy that the process seemed to work great during my interview and when I have listened to your others. I'm curious what changed (if anything) from your original vision of how you would conduct interviews for podcasting.

By the way Craig, I wouldn't have known listening to your interview that you felt nervous at all. :) I do recall as well how calming and inviting I found Dr. Dick as a host though, so I can see how that would have put you at ease.

Thank you again, Jeremy and Dr. Dick!

Craig Sorensen said...

Emerald said: I wouldn't have known listening to your interview that you felt nervous at all.

Maybe the good Doctor cured my stage fright?

Maybe he should send me a bill?

Jeremy Edwards said...

Just don't let him charge you for those placebos!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Thank you all for joining me here as I queried Dr. Dick in the classic buttonholing-a-doctor-at-a-cocktail-party fashion. And thank you so much for all the praise!

It's just about my bedtime, but the living room is open all night and the fridge is full of booze and canapés. Enjoy!

dr dick said...

gosh, it's like old home week here. i think the world of all of you. i never forget how lucky i am to have the opportunity to chat with and befriend folks like you. you helped me launch and sustain what i think is the best podcast series of its kind anywhere.

you've enriched me and our audience, and clearly you've inspired one another. what more could someone ask?

thanks for being there for me and with me.